Robert Braithwaite Martineau

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Robert Braithwaite Martineau
William Holman Hunt - Robert Braithwaite Martineau (1860).jpeg
Drawing of Robert Braithwaite Martineau by William Holman Hunt(1860)
Born 1826
Died 1869
Education Royal Academy of Art
Known for Painting, Drawing
Notable work The Last Day in the Old Home
Movement Pre-Raphaelite

Robert Braithwaite Martineau (1826–1869) was an English painter.


He attended Colfes school for a few years at the age of 15. He first trained as a lawyer and later entered the Royal Academy where he was awarded a silver medal. He studied under Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt and once shared a studio with him. He died at the age of 43. In 1865, he married Maria Wheeler and had two children with her.[1]

Robert Braithwaite Martineau, The Last Day in the Old Home (1862; Tate Gallery, London)

His most famous painting, The Last Day in the Old Home portrays shows the feckless squire after gambling away his family's inheritance. The man portrayed is Colonel John Leslie Toke (1839–1911) who was a friend of Martineau and was painted at his country home, Godinton House in Ashford, Kent. In an odd way life came to imitate art, for J L Toke inherited the house in 1866 but lost it after four hundred years of the Toke family living there. The painting can be seen at the Tate Gallery in London. Other paintings were bequeathed to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and Liverpool Art Gallery by his daughter Helen. Other less well known paintings include Kit's First Writing Lesson and Picciola.[1]

It is believed that he sat for Ford Madox Brown's famous painting Work (apparently he is the man on the horse in the mid-ground).


  • The Spelling Lesson, Paris, Musée d'Orsay, circa 1856.




  • Christoph Newall, La Leçon d'orthographe, La Revue du Musée d'Orsay, n° 21 autommne 2005, p. 20-25.